Advice about Per Diem vs. Traveling

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Reply Thu 12 Jul, 2007 12:22 pm
Advice about Per Diem vs. Traveling
I've been talking with a recruiter about working as a travel nurse for the first time. What's the deal with per diem shifts? Is it really better than traveling on 13-week assignments? I'd love to hear back from those of you who've done both and can give me some insight. Pros/cons?
Reply Mon 16 Jul, 2007 08:29 am
Per Diem vs Travel Nursing
I have been an agency nurse for almost two years now. I also do Per Diem work at a hospital near our home. The Per Diem job fills in gaps that are not available while under contract. An important apsect between the two is that Per Diem may not pay as well, as is in my case. Best thing about Per Diem is that if you can't find a travel position that suits you, then you can fall back onto the Per Diem job and there is very minimal contractional obligations. I like it and it works for me.
km 1
Reply Mon 16 Jul, 2007 05:33 pm
Hi jules23,

I'm about to start traveling for the first time too. I've heard that you can make a lot more money as a per diem nurse. I looked into with a company called Access (I just started working with them). I've decided to do travel assignments instead, but the woman I talked to, Maggie, was super nice and answered all my questions. I figure it's best for you to talk to her since she can answer all your questions.

Good luck! Hopefully I see you out on the road. Very Happy
Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2007 02:08 pm
i've worked per diem shifts in my spare time for about 2 years now...and i LOVE it! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy i haven't worked with access before like km, but i definitely think you should look into doing per diem work. it's tough to do it full time, but i i've heard of travel companies that have programs to make it easier. you should research it if you're seriously about trying it. i like that i don't have to become to attached to another hospital other than my own. Confused i already care so much for my patients where i work perm. that it'd be tough to try and split my dedication. good luck. Smile
stellar 1
Reply Mon 13 Aug, 2007 10:02 pm
Per diem agency nurses are the first to be canceled when the census drops. Travelers have assured hours. Something to think about.
Reply Sat 25 Aug, 2007 10:53 am
I went for agency rather than travel assignment
I only wanted to go to seattle for a month, the travel companies wanted to pay me 37$ flat with no assistance for housing/travel, the agency 51$ and 76$ for overtime with no promise of how many hours I would work. I went with the agency and made 9000 before taxes in one month. I love agency!
stellar 1
Reply Sat 25 Aug, 2007 02:52 pm
Sounds great. Most travel companies pay for housing and travel though. Maybe because it was just a month?
Reply Sat 25 Aug, 2007 06:07 pm
per diem
Stajen where was this contract, how long, and what agency? The hourly rate sounds extremely high from all that I have researched. Did it include bennies, housing and all that jazz? Thanks for any reply.
Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 11:20 am
I'd be interested to hear about the contract you got Stajen because it sounds too good to be true (which, in my experience, means it is). I've worked with Access Nurses for awhile now and the rates are amazing! But I always work 13 week assignments so maybe that is the difference.
windycity 1
Reply Tue 11 Sep, 2007 11:23 pm
Stajen, this sounds like strike pay. I've heard those are great (short term, lots of hours and great money).

To those talking about per-diem vs. travel: Don't move somewhere just to do per-diem. You would be the first to get cancelled and then you don't get paid. Make sure you have a travel position and use per-diem as extra. Your travel contract should state that if you get cancelled you still get paid.
Reply Thu 18 Oct, 2007 04:04 pm
per diem vs travel
well it isnt working out for me in tucson, I am on a 26 week assignment, and part of that contract is one per diem shift per week. On paper (the contract) it looks wonderful, in reality it is a nightmare.
I had to schedule my own per diem shifts, I get confirmed, then called off, then cant get rebooked.....I am not making the money promised, and being threatened to have my stipend affected. I am getting very sour on the travel nursing through a travel company, when I found out that I can get the same arrangement with the hospital itself, minus the middle man.
any thoughts?
stellar 1
Reply Fri 19 Oct, 2007 06:30 am
What agency did you work for Evil or Very Mad ? Throw your weight around. Tell them they broke the contract by not providing you with the hours and you want out. Tell them you will get a lawyer. Call the district attorney. If they are JHCHO (spelling sorry) certified, threaten to call them. This is assuming you want out of the contract. If not, tone it down but be firm. Tell them they are not holding their end of the contract by providing you the hours, etc. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
Reply Sat 5 Jan, 2008 01:38 am
I work per diem for a local hospital, along with my regular full time job. I have been doing both for 2 years and have gotten called off only once. I make $40 an hour per diem, plus shift diff, so the money is great, but I really want to travel. The probem is rates to travel are so low that I would be taking a pay cut, even with the dollar average between the two jobs, if I leave the per diem. I do get the worst patients and there is no teamwork in the per diem situation, but I heard it's the same with travel nursing sometimes too. I don't want to stay in the area I am currently in, so my desire for change is forcing me into making some new decisions, but if it's okay to stay in one area. Per diem is pretty good from my point of view, Just make sure that if you get called off, it's not going to be difficult for you. Since I have the other job, it works out for me.
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 12:38 pm
Thanks everyone for all of the advice. I just worked my first per diem shift with Access Nurses. So far so good. I'll probably be back with questions.

Nowpoint and windycity--Thanks especially for the advice about getting called off/cancelled.
Reply Tue 27 May, 2008 10:20 pm
Re: I went for agency rather than travel assignment
stajen wrote:
I only wanted to go to seattle for a month, the travel companies wanted to pay me 37$ flat with no assistance for housing/travel, the agency 51$ and 76$ for overtime with no promise of how many hours I would work. I went with the agency and made 9000 before taxes in one month. I love agency!

you can do so much better then this in seattle area.
my break down 48.00* 37 hours= 1776 (travel)
58.00 *24-37 hours = 1368-2146 (per diem)
total 3144-3922 a week * 4 weeks 12576-15688 a month before taxes

this is working tele as a 1099 nurse
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 05:49 pm
Just be sure that if you are in the middle of a travel contract, most of the time it stipulates that you can't work for anyone else during the contract, which is bullshit. Just do your per diem at one place and your travel contract somewhere else. And keep your lips zipped !! Smile
Craig 1
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 02:49 pm
Per diem, two different types
While reading through the posts, I did not see it explained that there are two types of per diem; hospital and agency. There were replies from those who apparently are hospital (or staff) per diem, and others which are agency.

In my experience, agency per diem generally pays slightly to moderately more than staff per diem, but are the first to be canceled due to the extra cost to the hospital.

Staff per diem pays more than regular staff, but are usually without any benefits. These don't get canceled as often because they pay around, perhaps a little less, than regular staff overtime. At many facilities you can get all the hours you want, but you are not eligible for overtime, shift/WE diffs, or vacation pay rates.

Agency per diem is a great way to gain experience at different facilities and is sometimes a good way to find a facility for a permanent job. But agency per diem rarely offers any orientation and a nurse has to hit the floor running.
Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2011 12:09 pm
I just found this topic and wanted to reply. I worked for 2 very large travel companies over the past 8 years. The one benefit of working as a travel nurse is your hours are gauranteed, and your company may give you extra incentives such as a housing stipend,reimbursement for certifications and licensure. However, traveling is a HUGE liability for the travel agency, so usually their margins are pretty high to cover the risk of a nurse backing out or trashing the housing. Per diem on the other hand is like substitute nursing. You work when 1 you are available and 2 when the hospital needs you. For the most part, per diem nurses can make a higher wage than the travel nurse, however, you hours are not gauranteed. YOu may book yourself for 5 shifts in a week, but may only actually work 2 days. If you decide to work per diem, make sure the company you are working with has a lot of contracts in the area to ensure you get your hours. Hope this was helpful Smile

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